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Are you starting a new online business? Perhaps you’re starting a blog, an eCommerce site, or even taking your offline solution online.
Whatever line you’re entering into, you’ll find that starting an online business is challenging. Your rewards as a businessperson will appear only if you carry out the very best practices in marketing, product building, and other key activities.
These business-building activities can be labor-intensive and time-consuming. It’s especially hard if you don’t already have a background in digital marketing, design, or business in general.
However, there are plenty of awesome and free online tools that can help you along. These tools will make your work easier and assist you by automating activities to do with content creation, analytics, and more.
So, for your convenience, here are different types of free tools you can find online to help you start and run your new online business.
When starting out, one of the first things you need to do is choose a blog or business name. Many new entrepreneurs have their desired name firmly in place, but not their marketing and other efforts. But fixing your new business name is not as easy as picking something you want and going with it.
For one thing, you have to check if your domain name is available. Sometimes you’ll get lucky and find that the domain name you want is available for a very low price.
But usually, a lot of short name domains are already taken. You may find that the name you want is only available if you spend an exorbitant amount of money on it.
One of the tools you can use from the outset is a name generator tool. There are virtually dozens of free options for name generators. But I suggest finding one that doesn’t just give you name, but also helps you take the next steps to start your business.
Use a name generator tool that helps you create random names or combine terms to build a brand name that’s based on clever wordplay. Then, when you find something you like, you can also find out whether there’s a domain available right away. You may also get a hosting plan at a great discount rate.
Other tools to help you create a great name include name combiners and online thesauruses that will give you word ideas you can use.
Can you get free hosting? Well, truth be told, you don’t really want to. If you do get ‘free’ hosting, it’s likely to come with limitations that hurt you more than if you paid for hosting.
You may find that the ‘free’ platform puts ads on your site. They may limit your site’s design or add their own domain name to your site address. As in, ‘www.yourwebsite.freehost.com’. It’s not a good look and it’s very unlikely that customers will enter their credit card details to buy from a site like that.
The closest you can come to free is to get hosting for under 3$ and fortunately, there are great affordable options for you.
Many hosting platforms offer individual and small business solutions that are right for new businesses. Some web hosting platforms also provide added value by including free business emails and other helpful add-ons. You can get an incredible deal that’s ideal for someone just starting out.
Content Curation and Management Tools
The best known ‘secret’ to online success is to make great content that provides value to your audience. Content plays many roles in growing your business.
- Content significantly impacts your SEO ranking
- It helps convert visitors to your blog or site into buyers and subscribers
- Great content will help you build your social media presence
- Good copywriting is the key to higher clickthrough rates and conversions on ads, leading to better value for your advertising spend
With so much resting on your content, it can be quite challenging to come up with a great copy, videos, and other content that sells. It’s good to have a solid toolkit consisting of free online tools that will help you boost your content marketing. Here are a few types of content tools you’ll need to curate, manage, and create content.
Social media management: Posting content to multiple social media platforms can be time-consuming. Platforms like HootSuite and Buffer make it easy to enter your content in one editor and have it appear simultaneously on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other places.
Document and file storage: Google Drive is a fantastic tool that will let you create and share documents on the cloud. You can get 15GB of free storage. And you can share and collaborate with others on articles in real-time.
CC0 images: Creative Commons Zero images are those that are entirely free for you to use in any manner. Add them to blog posts or use them on social media videos. You’ll find sites like Unsplash, Pexels, and Pixabay are the staple sites for high-quality CC0 images.
Image editing: If you have basic editing needs such as cropping, adding text, and shapes, then Canva is an awesome tool for you. For more intensive photo editing needs, use Affinity which provides a host of elaborate functionalities for free.
Keyword research: Truly helpful SEO tools are not available for free. The most you can get is a two-week free trial before having to use a monthly or yearly subscription. However, tools like AnswerThePublic, Exploding Topics, and Google Trends are helpful places to understand what people are looking for.
Content curation: You need tools to curate online content for a two main reasons: to provide your audience with helpful information and to come up with new topic ideas. Depending on your business area, you can use tools like Pinterest for visual topic ideas. Flipboard, Medium, and even Twitter are great sources to help you find awesome new content.
These are some helpful and easy-to-use tools that can give you an edge in your online business’s content marketing strategy. Use the platform types mentioned here along with other free content curation tools to grow your business fast.
Speed testing tools
Did you know that visitors will leave your site if it doesn’t load in under 3 seconds? As you add more content and tools to your website, you need to make sure that it runs smoothly and loads quickly.
Using a speed testing tool will help you keep a check on whether your website is loading fast enough. You can then make adjustments by compressing images on your site, reducing the number of plugins you use, and make other relevant changes.
A basic plugin that every website needs is a form tool. These tools allow customers to reach out to you by using contact forms. You can collect feedback, conduct surveys, get reviews, and carry out several helpful tasks.
There are several free form versions available for WordPress sites. Many WordPress themes often add forms to their templates too. You can use a free form tool when you are just starting out. They will work great for normal enquiries.
But it’s a great idea to upgrade to a premium version if you would like to carry out more elaborate tasks like getting payments through forms or creating conversational forms.
Analytics tools will help you measure how well your online business is doing. Google Analytics is completely free to use and several WordPress plugins will help you add it to your site easily.
With Analytics in place, you’ll be able to track how visitors come to your site, i.e. by seeing the keywords that lead to your page. You’ll also measure how long people stay on your site and which pages and posts get the most traffic.
These are just a few of the many, many ways an analytics plugin or tool can help you. It’s important to add this to your website right from the beginning or you miss out on valuable data that can help you scale up your business fast.
Give Your New Business the Best Start with Free Tools
If starting an online business has been an important dream for you, then making it a success will matter very much.
You have to perform multiple activities in an on-going manner for long periods. And every decision you take can lead to success, failure, or mediocre results.
Using the right tools from the very beginning will set you on the right path from the get-go. Also, working with free business tools will reduce your initial expenses while ensuring that you’re heading towards the right direction.
We’ve looked at many types of helpful online tools that are free or extremely cheap. Using these tools will allow you to build the best setup possible and give you the best chance for growth.
Once your business is up and running, you can always scale up and take up premium options that enhance your customers’ experiences. With the help of the tools mentioned here, you’ll be sure to see great progress and growth in your business soon. So, get out there and get started!